Tuesday, September 26, 2006


River Conservation Organizations - Watersheds in California.

Thing globally, act locally!! Do you have a favorite river, a special stream in your "backyard," or know of a pretty creek that needs protection? Why not join the organizations that are working to conserve your local rivers?

* American River.com - protecting the river - issues, resources & organizations.

* American River Conservancy - conservation, education, and stewardship programs to * protect and enhance native fisheries, vanishing plant and animal communities, scenic vistas, cultural heritage and recreational lands within the American and Cosumnes River watersheds.

* Big Chico Creek Watershed Alliance - protecting and enhancing the ecological integrity and economic vitality of the Big Chico Creek watershed through cooperative efforts.

* Cache Creek Conservancy - dedicated to the restoration of the lower Cache Creek corridor.

* Friends of Butte Creek - advocate for stronger environmental review, protection and enhancements to the watershed.

* Friends of the Lower Calaveras River. Dedicated to promoting the sustainable management of the Lower Calaveras River watershed.

* Friends of the Napa River - dedicated to the restoration, protection and celebration of the Napa River and its watershed.

* Friends of the Eel River - restore the Eel River and all her tributaries to a natural state of abundance, WILD & FREE.

* Friends of Trinity River - working to restore Trinity River fishery and wildlife resources.

* Granite Bay Flycasters.

* Protect American River Canyons - dedicated to the preservation of the wilderness, recreational, cultural, and historical resources of the North and Middle Forks of the American River.

* Restore Hetch Hetchy.

* Revive the San Joaquin.

* Sacramento River Riparian Habitat Program - protect, restore, and enhance both fisheries and riparian habitat.

* Sacramento River Preservation Trust - preserve the natural values of the Sacramento River and to educate the public concerning ecologically viable farming methods and the need to preserve free-flowing rivers.

* Sacramento River Watershed Program - concerned about the health of the Sacramento River and its watershed.

* Save Auburn Ravine Salmon and Steelhead - restore habitat for fish in this Sacramento River tributary creek.

* South Yuba River Citizens League - committed to the protection, preservation and restoration of the entire Yuba Watershed.

* Tuolumne River Trust - dedicated to promoting the stewardship of the Tuolumne River and its tributaries to ensure a healthy watershed.

* Upper Sacramento River Exchange - public information, community gatherings, and education about our unique Upper Sacramento River watershed.

More about: River Conservation.

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Monday, September 25, 2006


Stretching for Torso Rotation and Kayak Paddling Performance

Torso rotation is the motor you should be using to power your kayak, so stretching and loosening up your torso rotation muscles is a good way to start your day of kayaking, and maybe again as a wakeup call after a leisurely lunch.

Torso stretch with paddle leverage.

Bottom hand: reach across the bow (front) of your kayak. Place the power face of the paddle against the bow.

Top hand: push out using the vertical paddle for leverage. This allows you to rotate your torso towards the stern (back) of your kayak. Push with continuous, moderate pressure and hold the stretch for at least 40 sec.

Then switch sides and stretch your rotators on the other side of the kayak.
 BRT stretching his torso motor.
Photo by TaylorC.

You can just jump onto the river and stretch out as you paddle down the river, but why be stiff and clumsy for those first hours of every kayaking trip? You'll perform better and have more fun on the river if you do the stretching exercises you need before you put in !!

Stretching may not be that important for flexible, young kids, but stiff, old men like me really need to pay attention to stretching if we want to keep on paddling down our favorite rivers.

More about: Kayaking Techniques.  Stretching Techniques.  Books on Stretching.

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Sunday, September 24, 2006


River Conservation Organizations - Western USA Region.

If you love rivers, then consider joining one or more of these organizations that are working to protect our rivers !!

Non Government Organizations - NGOs

Colorado River Water Users Association - protecting and safeguarding the interests of all who use the Colorado River.
Columbia Land Trust - working to conserve land and water in the Columbia River region.
Friends of the River - California’s statewide river conservation organization.
Idaho Rivers United - for all who love the freedom, adventure and solitude of Idaho's wild rivers, Idaho Rivers United vigorously defends the priceless heritage of our rivers and fish.
Living Rivers - Colorado Riverkeeper - seeking to revive the natural habitat and spirit of rivers by undoing the extensive damage done by dams, diversions and pollution on the Colorado Plateau.
Pacific Rivers Council - protecting and restoring rivers, their watersheds, and native aquatic species.
Save Our Wild Salmon - promoting salmon recovery in the Columbia and Snake River Basin.
WaterWatch of Oregon - protecting natural flows in Oregon Rivers.

Government Organizations

California Department of Fish & Game.
California Department of Water Resources.
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Research / Education

Jeffrey F. Mount - Dept Geology - UC Davis.
UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences.

River Outfitters' Conservation Programs

River Conservation Events - W.E.T. River Trips.
River Conservation Programs - WET River Trips.
River Conservation - All-Outdoors.
River Conservation and California Water Politics - All-Outdoors.
Kern River Conservation and News - Sierra South.

More about: River Conservation.

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Environmental Conservation - Lands and Rivers in California (subtopic).

California River Conservation objectives:

• quoting from reputable sources like newspapers, books, online sources, etc.,
contacting our California legislators about water supply policy issues,
• advocating for river conservation, sensible water policy and wise use of tax money,
• providing comments pages that people can use to discuss the issues.

2012-3 Conservation of Lands and Watersheds in California.

Demolition of San Clemente Dam on the Carmel River 23june2013.
• Berryessa Snow Mountain National Conservation Area Act introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives 14june2012.
Point Reyes National Seashore Association Announces 2012 Trails Challenge - Marin County, California 20april2012.
Many California State Parks at risk for closure 13feb2012.

2011 Conservation of Rivers, Creeks and Watersheds in California.

Battle Creek Salmon and Steelhead Restoration Project update 20june2011.
Summer Salmon Institute 2011 - Environmental Education Training Workshop for K-12 Teachers.

2009 River Conservation to Protect the Environment in California.

McCloud River - support restoration of natural water flows 19nov2009. Guest author: Dave Steindorf, American Whitewater.
Fight the Closure of Marshall Gold SHP - access for SF American River 28aug2009.
California River Flow Gages at Risk from Budget Cuts 04aug2009.
Restore Auburn Ravine - Creek Habitat for Salmon Spawning 30june2009.
Wild and Scenic Rivers in California - Additions to the USA National Program 27march2009.
Sacramento River salmon feed the eagles nesting in Redding, California 23mar2009.

2008 River Conservation and California Water Policy Archive.

2007 Insights - Water Policy, Flood Control and River Conservation.

2006 River Conservation and Flood Control for Sacramento CA.

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Sunday, September 17, 2006


Coloma to Greenwood Run, SF American River, kayaking class II, Sept 17, 2006

We kayaked the Coloma to Greenwood Run on SF American River at 1600 cfs (El Dorado County, California, USA). MasaO paddled an Eskimo Kendo, KenyaO paddled an IK, BruceH paddled a Dagger Crossfire, CarolynD paddled a Dagger RPM & I paddled BobL's Dagger SuperEgo. Here we are again on the "C to G" run and not at all unhappy about that. This is one of our best local runs for beginner kayakers, but it also has a good mix of small, medium and large playspots for the more experienced kayakers in the group.

The river was pretty stagnant when we got to put-in at Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park around 10:30. While we dressed and ran shuttle it came up to 1800 cfs in a great big hurry, then dropped to 1600 cfs for the rest of the day. It takes about 3 hours for the flow measured at Chili Bar to get down to Coloma, so we can check the flow at home and then drive to Coloma and be ready to boat at about the same time as the water gets there.

KenyaO got some lessons in paddling and eddy catching on the way down to Gremlin wave-hole, then the experienced boaters got some practice in this snarly little playspot. We all eddy-hopped Old Scary Rapid without incident. The wave-hole above the Hwy 49 bridge disappears at this flow rate, so we continued eddy hopping and surfing our way down the river.

I think I'm finally getting used to the SuperEgo kayak and also getting my paddling motor back onto shape. It was glorious to fire up the engines and unconsciously have the boat perform as expected. Having the flow slightly lower and less pushy than it was on previous trips probably helped too. Unfortunately, my motor wasn't good for the whole day, so I was back in energy conservation mode for the afternoon. I definitely need to rev up that mid-week conditioning program (and paddle more often!).

We had lunch at Henningsen Lotus Park. The big flock of Canada geese at Camp Lotus was snoozing in the sun on a little rocky island.

Punch the hole or get punched at Barking Dog

I caught the eddy at Barking Dog rapid and got in one quick surf. Then BruceH punched the hole in his speedy Crossfire. CarolynD in a slower RPM kayak just barely squeaked through. KenyaO in the inflatable kayak floated into the hole, and then got punched and munched.

California fuchisas were blooming in blazing red, one of the last plants flowering along the river.

Everybody had good lines at Current Divider and Highway rapids. The little wave-hole 1/2 way down in Highway rapid was a good spot to practice edge control while surfing. At this flow it is easy to get into, but still snarly enough to require edge control to stay on it for any length of time. I tried surfing on wave #2 at Swimmers rapid, but quickly realized that my gas tank was empty. I think that most of us were running on empty by the time we got to take-out at Greenwood Creek, if not before.

We made our beer & dinner stop at Kathmandu Kitchen in Davis. Medium hot seasoning was tasty, but nowhere near hot enough. I'm going hot! next time I eat there.

I got home with enough energy to get my wet gear hung up, but as soon as I hit the couch it was lights out.

More about: Kayaking Trip Reports.

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Sunday, September 10, 2006


All Braces Should be LOW Braces - Kayaking Paddle Technique

1. Bracing on the surface of the water with your kayak paddle can help provide the support that you occasionally need when kayaking in whitewater. This can help you to maintain/regain your balance and to stay upright in your kayak.

The key principles of bracing are:

a) paddle face flat on the surface of the water (either the power face or the back face of the paddle)

b) paddle shaft very low and held parallel to the surface of the water

c) maintain a LOW center of gravity
- keep arms very LOW while sitting upright with an aggressive forward posture

d) always brace on the down-current side
- normally the direction in which you are trying to go!
- remember eddy currents are opposite from the main flow

e) maintain your paddler's box
- keep your arms extended straight and low in front of you

2. Some paddlers make a big deal about "high-brace" vs. "low-brace" depending upon how you bend your wrist and which face of the paddle is down on the water when you brace. In the pictures below notice the differences between the low-brace and the high-brace:

"Low brace."
"High brace."

That's right! There are no great differences between the low-brace and the high-brace. You can totally forget about this silly low brace vs. high brace nonsense!! Remember - All Braces Are LOW Braces!! At the moment when you need some support get a paddle face down flat on the surface of the water ASAP. Either paddle face will do. Use whichever one is most convenient at the moment. Bend your wrist however necessary to make it happen. And keep it LOW !!

3. Other paddling strokes have some brace-like value, so just maintaining your aggressive paddling may provide all the support you need to stay upright. In those cases when you interrupt your normal paddling to put down a brace it is important to resume your aggressive paddling as soon as possible. The brace will provide a moment of support, but your other paddling strokes are needed to get you through the rapid.

More about: Kayaking Techniques.

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Common Kayak Paddling Mistakes

Some kayaking skills are counter-intuitive. Training is needed to avoid these mistakes and to learn the skills needed for success in whitewater kayaking and sea kayaking.

1. Paddle hugging. Beginners tend to hold their paddles too close to their bodies. These "paddle huggers" then propel their layaks with elbow bending. Kayakers need to extend their arms straight and maintain a good strong paddler's box as they paddle. Hold the paddle as far from your body as you can through all of your paddling strokes.

2. Lack of torso rotation. Beginners tend to lock their torso and shoulders in the forward position. Kayakers need to power the paddle with straight arms and torso rotation to get the benefits of their big, strong, high endurance torso muscles. This is also critical for avoiding injuries to arms and shoulders while paddling.

3. Air bracing. Beginners tend to hold their paddles too high in the air and often raise their paddles even higher when the river grabs their boats and starts tossing them around. Air bracing means no support from bracing on the water, a high center of gravity, and often quickly results in a flipped boat and a swim. Kayakers need to keep their paddler's box down low on the decks of their kayaks, except when raising one hand at a time for a vertical stroke like the forward paddle.

4. Paralysis. Beginners often freeze up and stop paddling when the whitewater action starts to overwhelm them (i.e. sensory overload). In many cases all they need to do is maintain aggressive paddling to get through the rapid. Of course, when heading into a serious hazard a course correction is needed and then more aggressive forward paddling to avoid the hazard.

5. Leaning back. Beginners often lean back when big waves threatens to crash in their faces or over their heads. This is a natural reflex for many, but doesn't serve us well on the river. Maintain your upright posture and aggressive forward lean at all times. At that last second when it is too late to avoid the wave leaning back only makes it more likely that the wave will knock you over backwards. Often you can punch through these waves by maintaining your rhythm of aggressive forward paddling. Or you might stab the wave in the gut, use your paddle as a momentary brace, let the wave crash over your head and very quickly resume forward paddling.

6. Leaning upstream. Most beginners experience most of their flipped boats when they shift their body weight to the upstream side of their boat (e.g. during an eddy turn) and/or drop the upstream edge of their boat. It happens so fast that beginners are repeatedly slammed down before they realize what is happening to them. Many experienced boaters can see what is happening and are already paddling out for the rescue before the beginner's head hits the water. Successful kayakers must maintain weight control, edge control and paddle bracing on the downstream side of their boats.

More about: Kayaking Techniques.

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Monday, September 04, 2006


Coloma to Greenwood Run, SF American River, kayaking Sept 3, 2006

We kayaked the Coloma to Greenwood Run on SF American River at 1800 cfs (El Dorado County, California, USA). TaylorC and CarolynD paddled Dagger RPMs & I paddled BobL's Dagger SuperEgo.

Our first attempt to get going was not successful, so we returned to Davis for a more suitable shuttle vehicle. We loaded our boats and bike for shuttle into Carolyn's truck and had better success on the second try.

We went to put-in at Marshall Gold Discovery St Pk. The first people we asked were just running a shuttle down to Greenwood Ck River Access and offered us a ride back, so we got lucky and managed to avoid using the bike for shuttle again.

There were a couple of good surf spots and lots of great eddies to catch in the long rapid leading down to more good surfing and swimming at Gremlin wave. We had good runs and no scares this time at Old Scary Rapid, then got a few blackberries along the shore.

We had lunch at Camp Lotus with the sound of Barking Dog Rapid growling off in the distance.

Down at Barking Dog Rapid we all were impressed by two kids on boogie boards who were going into the wave-hole together and surfing around each other with the greatest of ease. And there was a kayaker who was doing 360s and making it look easy. Of course its not at all easy! I got a few good surfs there, but I felt just a little sluggish so soon after lunch. The entry from river-right was pretty easy, but every moment in the wave hole was a dynamic, high speed ride that required constant adjustments in paddling, edge control, and shifting my weight forward and back. Even in a short kayak like the SuperEgo I had to be very careful not to let the bow of the boat get buried in the wave. On my second good ride I did pearl out of the wave-hole, but I was able to brace and stay upright. Some day I need to spend a lot more time there to get better acquainted with this awesome playspot, but today I was happy to ride it a little and leave without getting dunked.

TaylorC had an epic roll session just below Barking Dog Rapid, finally making it up on his fourth try under very difficult circumstances. CarolynD made all of her rolls today. It became a really nice day of eddy hopping and surfing as we explored our way down the river. We even helped another group rescue two of their swimmers below Current Divider Rapid.

On just his fourth river trip TaylorC is really learning fast, so I had fun showing him some challenging lines through the rapids and interesting eddies to catch. TaylorC also got to lead our group in many places and it was interesting to watch him find his own way down a river that he had run just once before.

We had pushed pretty hard all day, so we were all running on empty by the time we got to the end of the run. We did a good job of eddy hopping at Highway Rapid, but then just bounced down the middle of Swimmers Rapid without stopping to play. Taylor pushed his gas tank way beyond empty with a final bit of roll practice at Greenwood Creek take-out. Then we had just enough energy to hike the boats up the trail to the parking lot.

Our traditional dinner stop on the way home, Thai Style Dining in Cameron Park, was almost full on this holiday weekend, but we got seated right away. We hardly had time to review the days photos on the view screen of Taylor's camera when our food was served. Medium hot seasoning was just right.

More about: Kayaking Trip Reports.

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Saturday, September 02, 2006


River canyons are truly sacred places

"Prepare thoroughly.
Go to the sacred places.
Wait. Look. Feel. Then shoot !"

This quote from the famous photographer David Muench was meant for his fellow photographers, but can apply also to whitewater river kayakers.

We must prepare thoroughly (including individual & group skills, gear and fitness) just to go where we go and to do what we do in our whitewater river adventures.

ALL river canyons are truly sacred places. The immense and unrelenting power of this ever changing environment lets us experience the beauty of nature in a direct and personal way.

Look. Feel. Once we have mastered the skills to navigate the river, then we can look and feel the many additional dimensions of the whitewater rivers and experience the magical beauty of our river canyons.

Then shoot. Shoot the rapids!!

  The Grand Canyon of the Colorado River is certainly a cathedral among sacred places, both for kayakers and for photographers. BruceT on the Canyon. Photo by JimH.

More about: River Quotes & River Philosophy.

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